Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Primates: Now with only half the calories!
by Staff Writers
Chicago IL (SPX) Jan 16, 2014


Most mammals, like the family dog or pet hamster, live a fast-paced life, reaching adulthood in a matter of months, reproducing prodigiously (if we let them), and dying in their teens if not well before. By comparison, humans and our primate relatives (apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lorises, and lemurs) have long childhoods, reproduce infrequently, and live exceptionally long lives. Primates' slow pace of life has long puzzled biologists because the mechanisms underlying it were unknown.

New research shows that humans and other primates burn 50% fewer calories each day than other mammals. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that these remarkably slow metabolisms explain why humans and other primates grow up so slowly and live such long lives.

The study also reports that primates in zoos expend as much energy as those in the wild, suggesting that physical activity may have less of an impact on daily energy expenditure than is often thought.

Most mammals, like the family dog or pet hamster, live a fast-paced life, reaching adulthood in a matter of months, reproducing prodigiously (if we let them), and dying in their teens if not well before. By comparison, humans and our primate relatives (apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lorises, and lemurs) have long childhoods, reproduce infrequently, and live exceptionally long lives. Primates' slow pace of life has long puzzled biologists because the mechanisms underlying it were unknown.

An international team of scientists working with primates in zoos, sanctuaries, and in the wild examined daily energy expenditure in 17 primate species, from gorillas to mouse lemurs, to test whether primates' slow pace of life results from a slow metabolism.

Using a safe and non-invasive technique known as "doubly labeled water," which tracks the body's production of carbon dioxide, the researchers measured the number of calories that primates burned over a 10 day period. Combining these measurements with similar data from other studies, the team compared daily energy expenditure among primates to that of other mammals.

"The results were a real surprise," said Herman Pontzer, an anthropologist at Hunter College in New York and the lead author of the study. "Humans, chimpanzees, baboons, and other primates expend only half the calories we'd expect for a mammal. To put that in perspective, a human - even someone with a very physically active lifestyle - would need to run a marathon each day just to approach the average daily energy expenditure of a mammal their size."

This dramatic reduction in metabolic rate, previously unknown for primates, accounts for their slow pace of life. All organisms need energy to grow and reproduce, and energy expenditure can also contribute to aging. The slow rates of growth, reproduction, and aging among primates match their slow rate of energy expenditure, indicating that evolution has acted on metabolic rate to shape primates' distinctly slow lives.

"The environmental conditions favoring reduced energy expenditures may hold a key to understanding why primates, including humans, evolved this slower pace of life," said David Raichlen, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona and a coauthor of the study.

Perhaps just as surprising, the team's measurements show that primates in captivity expend as many calories each day as their wild counterparts. These results speak to the health and well-being of primates in world-class zoos and sanctuaries, and they also suggest that physical activity may contribute less to total energy expenditure than is often thought.

"The completion of this non-invasive study of primate metabolism in zoos and sanctuaries demonstrates the depth of research potential for these settings. It also sheds light on the fact that zoo-housed primates are relatively active, with the same daily energy expenditures as wild primates," said coauthor Steve Ross, Director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo.

"Dynamic accredited zoo and sanctuary environments represent an alternative to traditional laboratory-based investigations and emphasize the importance of studying animals in more naturalistic conditions."

Results from this study hold intriguing implications for understanding health and longevity in humans. Linking the rate of growth, reproduction, and aging to daily energy expenditure may shed light on the processes by which our bodies develop and age. And unraveling the surprisingly complex relationship between physical activity and daily energy expenditure may improve our understanding of obesity and other metabolic diseases.

More detailed study of energy expenditure, activity, and aging among humans and apes is already underway. "Humans live longer than other apes, and tend to carry more body fat," said Pontzer. "Understanding how human metabolism compares to our closest relatives will help us understand how our bodies evolved, and how to keep them healthy."

.


Related Links
Lincoln Park Zoo
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Ultrasound directed to the human brain can boost sensory performance
Blacksburg VA (SPX) Jan 16, 2014
Whales, bats, and even praying mantises use ultrasound as a sensory guidance system - and now a new study has found that ultrasound can modulate brain activity to heighten sensory perception in humans. Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute scientists have demonstrated that ultrasound directed to a specific region of the brain can boost performance in sensory discrimination. The study, ... read more


ABOUT US
UK charity expands Philippine anti-trafficking work

Tornadoes, flood, drought cost US billions in 2013

Funding Problems Threaten US Disaster Preparedness

Microalgae and aquatic plants can help to decrease radiopollution in the Fukushima area

ABOUT US
Potential Future Data Storage at Domain Boundaries

Quantum physics could make secure, single-use computer memories possible

Bio-inspired glue keeps hearts securely sealed

ORNL-UT researchers invent 'sideways' approach to 2-D hybrid materials

ABOUT US
Coral Reefs in Palau Surprisingly Resistant to Naturally Acidified Waters

Researchers target sea level rise to save years of archaeological evidence

The life cycle of a jellyfish and a way to control it

Limited water predicted west of the Continental Divide

ABOUT US
Greenpeace says Russia still holding Arctic protest ship

Massive valley deeper than Grand Canyon found under antarctic ice

Giant Antarctic glacier beyond point of no return

Emperor Penguins breeding on ice shelves

ABOUT US
Uruguay farmers set against open-pit iron ore mine

New discovery could stimulate plant growth and increase crop yields

China farmers build wall of cash with $2.2 mn payout: report

European Parliament votes pollen is part of honey

ABOUT US
Building 'belt' offers cheap, quick repair of earthquake damage

Cyclone June takes aim at New Caledonia, New Zealand

Indonesia floods leave 16 dead, tens of thousands displaced

Fresh cyclone brews as Tonga struggles to recover

ABOUT US
Senegal stands firm in Russian trawler row

Nigerian military brass sacked after court ruling

Point of no return: can peace talks stop S. Sudan's war?

Central Africa begins search for new leader after bloodbath

ABOUT US
Primates: Now with only half the calories!

Study: Chimps can use gestures to achieve specific goals cooperatively

Ultrasound directed to the human brain can boost sensory performance

Australia study debunks existence of 'sixth sense' or ESP




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement